The latest MIRA congress statistics and the recently published ICCA data bear confirm Tyrol’s global attractiveness as a top congress destination. Top scores in participant figures, overnight stays and value added are the key reasons for this, report Convention Bureau Tyrol (CBT), the congress centers in Alpbach, Kitzbühel und Mayrhofen and leading Tyrolean company Congress Messe Innsbruck (CMI).
Innsbruck, Alpbach, Kitzbühel, Mayrhofen
With 265,672 overnight stays by congress guests, Tyrol took a strong second place behind the Federal State of Vienna as a congress destination in Austria, as shown by the 2016 Meeting Industry Report Austria (MIRA) recently presented by the Austrian Convention Bureau (ACB) and Österreich Werbung (ÖW). This represents growth of more than five percent over the previous year.
High overnight stay figures
According to MIRA, international congresses are the key to the high overnight stay figures in Tyrol. In 2016, they generated four times more overnight stays in Austria than congresses with national guests. Roughly 85 percent of the Tyrolean congress overnight stays were the result of international congresses, with a total of 203 international congresses held in Tyrol last year, according to the MIRA. “As the leading company in such a strong congress, seminar and conference state, we are delighted that Tyrol is 2nd in the Austrian international congress segment behind Vienna, a top destination worldwide,” says a pleased Christian Mayerhofer, CEO of Congress Messe Innsbruck.
Innsbruck scores with major congresses
A look at the state capital shows that international congresses also attract high participant figures: With 313 participants per congress/conference/seminar, Congress Innsbruck greatly exceeded the national average of 176 participants in 2016, enough for first place among the individual Federal States. The latest statistics from the International Congress and Convention Association ICCA reports that Innsbruck is the strongest destination for international congresses after Vienna. “We were able to make a major contribution to this with top-class congresses such as the European Atherosclerosis Congress (EAS) with over 2,000 international participants,” explains Ina Kähler, Head of Congress Management and PCO Tirol of Congress Messe Innsbruck, “and there are good examples for 2017 too.” For example, just a few weeks ago, the congress of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) was held at Congress Innsbruck with 1,500 international participants. With the congress of the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD), Congress Innsbruck has lined up the next top-class international convention with over 1,000 participants for this fall.
International MICE customers add significant value
“International guests add a great deal of value and also enhance Tyrol’s image worldwide,” confirms Veronika Handl, Head of Convention Bureau Tyrol (CBT). Birgit Ducke, Managing Director of K3 KitzKongress, mentions the Global Wellness Summit as a recent example: It brought together participants from 43 nations at the KitzKongress in 2016, making it the largest event in the history of the Global Wellness Summit. The effects of the international summit were significant in many ways: In and around Kitzbühel, it generated roughly 2,000 overnight stays and a turnover of roughly 1.35 million Euros according to Ducke. The international advertising value of the reporting was reported at approx. 2.8 mill. Euros. “As an example, the Global Wellness Summit proves once again that international congresses generate a very high value added factor for the region, and Tyrol as a congress state enjoys an excellent reputation as a top MICE destination worldwide,” emphasizes Ducke.
Longer stays are key
While national congresses lasted 1.85 days on average in 2016, international congresses had an average event duration of 3.39 days, as revealed by the MIRA. From a tourism perspective, Zillertal, just a few kilometers further down the road also cannot imagine life without the international MICE segment confirms Ines Kammerlander, Managing Director of Europahaus Mayrhofen: “Statistics show that MICE customers return to Mayrhofen as holidaymakers, and every 4th business visitor extends their stay for 1.3 nights, to experience the region through sporting and tourist activities.” Typical regional supporting programs and lodging in family-run accommodation are among the reasons for this. Georg Hechenblaikner, Managing Director of Congress Centrum Alpbach, mentions in particular the low season months from March to the end of June, and September to November, when the region benefits especially from MICE customers: “The congress and convention sector plays an important role in Alpbach. The Alpbach European Forum, which attracts over 5,000 participants to Alpbach every year, is proof of this.” Roughly every 5th incoming journey in the municipality was generated by congress and convention visitors, adding a particularly high level of value for every day they stay, adds Hechenblaikner. “With state-of-the-art technology, creative and flexible formats, highly professional personnel and short distances, the research and scientific location of Tyrol is, therefore, an impressive destination for congresses and conventions in international competition,” concludes Veronika Handl from Convention Bureau Tyrol.